Editor's Note: The Fanfiction Issue

The Fanfiction Issue

This week, The Escapist explores fanfiction: what it says about us, what it means to us and what it does to us when we participate.

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Discussing the weather:

Me: Did you know that lightning jumps from cloud to cloud?
Friend: Wow, that sounds like a doozy of a crossover fic.
Me: Oh dammit.

Russ Pitts:
Will this be the day on which we publish fanfiction, thus destroying our credibility once and for all?

I would say that The Escapist already does this, only in video form. I'm pretty sure There Will Be Brawl is the epitome of "fanfiction" in its most accessible form.

This should be an interesting edition of the escapist. We have an internet magazine, trying to do an honest evaluation of something that makes up a chunk of the internet without offending people.
Will they step on egg shells or just go straight into the chicken coup with a baseball bat?
Guess I'm going to have to read today!

Also why did that link go too a guy making stuff out of mashed potato? I haven't seen that movie but I'm guessing its relivant to this edition... maybe its because he is making something out of other stu... i dont know, can someone explain it to my inferior brain?

Russ Pitts:

This is The Escapist after all. We have standards.

My new tagline for this site.

I'll admit that I wrote it once when I was 15 or 16, about one possible sequel to Halo (back in 2003) it was just about the fighting, and nothing like
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrx2kZk4Pzg&feature=PlayList&p=D3FA49E4DDBE3698&playnext_from=PL&index=0&playnext=1

Funny this happens now when I just started getting into fan fiction. Mass Effect fan fiction to be precise. Out of curiousity I checked out fanfiction.net, looked up Mass Effect and stumpled upon a story that added such depth and love to the story that I made a profile simply so I could keep up with the newest chapters that the author adds to it. Before long I branched out and started looking at other topics.

For some reason the ones that I seem to find are the most well written are the Mass Effect stories. Weird.

Here's the one I mentioned that got me into it. http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5753454/1/

What makes it unique is that he takes perspectives of less used characters and adds some real depth to them. Remember Wilson from ME2... no? He was the doctor that betrayed cerberus? We don't really learn anything about him in the game. This author decided to add some depth and came up with a scenario that frankly I think is more believable than the game. Take a look, despite what you feel about fan fiction, there are some gems out there.

Does writing a condensed version of Austen's Pride and Prejudice with the original characters replaced with the cast of Mass Effect count as fan-fiction?
- Not that I would ever do that.
No sir.

Why?

Why is it, whenever fanfiction is discussed, people automatically bring up 'that kind' of fanfic?

The lemons, the limes, the slash - why?

When I mention going to the cinema, does it automatically bring a porn flick to the mind? When I say 'I was reading a really good book last night', people don't automatically assume it was Playboy...I hope.

Fanfic, like most media styles held solely in the reins of its creator, is a slave to their will. Unfortunately, some people like to beat slaves and subjugate them, whilst others treat them like what they are - a good companion who can be insurmountably effective at what they do - assist. Assist a purpose, assist in creation. In the creation of a story, sure. Who hasn't watched a movie or cartoon or anime and said to themselves 'i could write/do better then that.'?"

But i feel the key to fanfic, is the creation of technique. How many writers wrote a hundred bombs before bashing out a masterpiece? Robert E. Howard, one of my favourite authors, didn't even get published until after his death - but he honed his technique by smashing out hundreds of little short stories which were published in journals, magazines and newspapers, back when they actually published stuff instead of reheated, depressing news.

In fanfic, people have a short-cut. The layout is there. Location, characters, settings, whole universes, all painted to perfection. All you need to do is grab the dolls and start playing. Of course, primal instinct makes you bash the dolls together at first, but eventually you begin to realize that they can do more then knock against each other - you can articulate them, place them in situations they wouldn't normally make, reinforce them as characters in a much bigger picture.

I've been known to try my hand at a few fanfictions - Resident Evil ones. The plot isn't exactly awe-inspiring, but I think it's pretty good, considering I do/did it on my free time. I also used it as a short story essay in Senior year at high school and got the highest grade in the class. So.
For anyone interested in seeing a fanfiction that doesn't involve humping, here. But you aren't missing anything amazing if you politely decline.

You talked about how there are bad fanfics and ther are good fanfics, but you forgot to mention the fanfics that are so hilariously bad that they are awesome. I'm looking at you John Freeman.

DudeMan1031:
You talked about how there are bad fanfics and ther are good fanfics, but you forgot to mention the fanfics that are so hilariously bad that they are awesome. I'm looking at you John Freeman.

That is comedic gold. I've actually memorized most of the dialog in the videos and regularly go back and forth with my friends using them.

"Hey Raen, haven't seen you on LIVE in a while, what's going on?"
"UI have discovered a new radioactive isatope but it is so volatile that is has not a half life but a quarter life so we must observe with hasty"

SavingPrincess:

Russ Pitts:
Will this be the day on which we publish fanfiction, thus destroying our credibility once and for all?

I would say that The Escapist already does this, only in video form. I'm pretty sure There Will Be Brawl is the epitome of "fanfiction" in its most accessible form.

There's actually a lot out there that can technically be called 'fanfiction'. Like the entire expanded Star Wars universe, all those additional books are basically just Lucas Films giving authors the go ahead to write and publish Star Wars fanfiction. Same thing could be said with Halo, I'm sure lots of amateurs have attempted and succeeded in writing a full background behind it, but Microsoft just found a professional author to make an 'official' version. And as everyone knows with fanfiction while 99% of it is junk, there's always a few diamonds in the rough to be found that are on par with the official stuff.

And even with the crap, while it's painfull to try and read it, is it really a bad thing? Good writing or bad, I would think the concept of so many kids writing full novel length stories is overall a good thing, isn't it? For anyone my age (just about 30) and above, how many people did you know that actually did creative writing in school? I kind of wish I had that sort of creative outlet when I was a teen.

I've often written fanfiction, and well, let's just say I'm glad it's no longer on the internet. :/

Now i've improved and I'm glad it's helped me improve my literary skills as well as my use of POV and plot development.

Though I can agree with the topic at hand. Some fanfiction can go WAYYY out of control. *coughSonic2006cough*

I can't be that hard on Fan Fiction, considering that the brilliant Naomi Novik of Temeraire fame apparently started out writing Pern Fanfics.

That was a nice note. Fanfiction could always use more respect. But you wrote about Dannon yogurt? What on earth?

I'm a little dissapointed no one covered any of the more imfamous pieces of epic level bad fanfiction. Also,

Russ Pitts:

This is The Escapist after all. We have standards.

Obviously. I've not been hired. Yet.

I used to write fanfiction but I had to stop because I barely have the time to do so. I started writing a story based on an anime I like. i got into it mostly because the first episode that I saw brought up the possibility, as is the case with many anime, of two characters having mutual affection (I'm kind of a sucker for that kind of thing in anime). As I watched the show, I really took a liking to those guys, especialy the girl and I really wished she could get the guy (main character), but since she's a secondary character, you don't get to see her take the spotlight too often. Besides, the guy's not even that aware of her feelings. Still, every time they were together, there was such good chemistry, better than with most characters in that series. SO I decided to write my own version of how could those two end up together. I combined some canon from the series as well as adding characters of my own, usually based on others from other media. But soon, writing it became tedious, mostly because in retrospect there were some parts of the dialogue and situations that make me want to punch myself in the face. It felt like a weird mashup between a dumb thriller with smart ideas, an awkward romcom (no so much humping but more the suggestion of it, maybe even perversion from my part), some annoying and nonsensical character development, and some nice action thrown in. I found myself lacking the time to write it down the way I wanted. So right now, about a third of it is lying somewhere around a forum and the rest is still in my head. I wish I could get back to writing it now that it's more polished.

I'm somewhat disappointed a section to some of the most popular (and terrible) fanfictions around. Things like Half Life: Full Life Consequences and Doom: Repercussions of Evil have become something of internet legends thanks to their hilariously bad storytelling and spelling.

I especially love it when read on Youtube and illustrated with Gary's Mod in the former's case, or in song as the latter.

I don't like playing in other people's sandboxes as a matter of personal preference, but I've never really understood the scorn towards fanfiction. When directors make a film adaptation of a book or play, isn't that a type of fanfiction? Aren't Star Trek and Star Wars novels basically fanfiction? Aren't most American comic book writers basically doing fanfiction of characters and settings that were created when they were in diapers or even earlier?

When did fanfiction have to genuinely "good" to be liked? I loved Repercussions of Evil. I loved the Beta Threat. http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5739859/1/The_Beta_Threat . I loved Full Life Consequences. http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2945837/1/Halflife_Fulllife_Consequences These things have probably set the bar for modern fiction in my opinion.

I've been reading fanfiction for 3 years now. Finding good stories is a labor of love, and wading through the shit-stack of bad fics is insanity for anyone except those who have tasted a good fic. Because a fic done right in one of the most engaging things in the world. I also tried my hand at writing a fic. It sucked but I may try again with more of a you know, plot in mind.

mrhappyface:
When did fanfiction have to genuinely "good" to be liked? I loved Repercussions of Evil. I loved the Beta Threat. http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5739859/1/The_Beta_Threat . I loved Full Life Consequences. http://www.fanfiction.net/s/2945837/1/Halflife_Fulllife_Consequences These things have probably set the bar for modern fiction in my opinion.

Hahaha! Beta Threat is a fic worthy of the gods I tell you! The Gods!

I've written my share of fanfiction before. It has ranged from childish fusion fics between Zelda + Star Wars and Zelda + Lord of the Rings, to a very well-received Dragonball story based in a medieval swords-and-sorcery setting, and... an erotic slash fic of Fanfic Me x Talim. *hangs head in shame*

My god, this dannon light 'n fit smoothie is oddly erotic.

Another great issue that diversifies yet remains in the family of this sites focus. :) Thanks Russ and team for all your hard work!

... you have an exceptionally good point there, about the comics. Also, I've been reading fanfiction for about five years, and writing it for the last two. While most of it is semi-crappy Naruto fics (based on before the series was total crap), I'm steadily moving into better areas, and if I say so myself, some of my stories are pretty damn good. Username on www.fanfiction.net is pretty much the same as it is here, just "MechaUltimaZero" instead of "Ultima Zero."

 

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